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Purple Gem Rockcress

Aubrieta x Whitewell Gem, sometimes sold as Purple Gem, is a cheerful ground cover, and a great candidate for edging your paths or tucking into stone walls if your site meets some basic growing requirements. When the profuse purple flowers have faded, the grayish-green foliage maintains a handsome mat that covers bare areas under leggy roses or between paving stones on a garden path. These plants are far more common in Europe than in North America. The genus name derives from Claude Aubriet, a European landscape artist from the 17th century.

Spring-blooming aubrieta makes a perfect pocket plant for garden walls and rock gardens. The plants have a very small footprint and can establish a deep root system in the soil behind a retaining wall, while foliage and flowers can spread up to 18 inches or more, giving the appearance of a living wall. Aubrieta plants also provide good erosion control on hillsides and attract butterflies with their prolific spring flowers.